Nuts always seem to be in the news for their health properties but are they a healthy detox food? Nuts are full of protein, are a good source of fibre and contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats all of which are needed to support the detox system so I would say they are.
Are nuts fattening?
Some people shy away from nuts thinking that they are fattening but the fats they contain are the healthy unsaturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated ones. They help to supply essential fatty acids that are needed for each cell in your body to be able to detox itself.
There is even some evidence that if eaten in moderation as part of a healthy diet they can help you lose weight especially toxic fat around the middle that is linked to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Nuts can help to lower bad LDL cholesterol and boost good HDL cholesterol, reduce levels of blood fats called triglycerides, lower blood pressure and regulate heart rythm.
It’s best to eat nuts in their natural unroasted state, with their skins on as the skins contain some of the most important plant nutrients. Organicically grown nuts are best.
Buy whole nuts from a store that has a good turnover so they are as fresh as possible.Nut pieces and chopped nuts go rancid more quickly. Keep them in a cool dry place.
Top health boosting nuts for your detox diet:
Almonds are rich in magnesium, a mineral that is needed for detox and often deficient in today’s diets of processed foods. A 50 gm serving of almonds give you approximately 170 mg calcium which the equivalent of a 150 ml glass of milk.
Almond milk makes a good alternative to cow’s milk that you should avoid when you are on a detox diet
Almonds are also high in many antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium which are needed for the detox system.
Walnuts have long been hailed as good for protecting against heart disease by lowering cholesterol but they were in the news again recently. Scientists have discovered that they protect your heart because of the beneficial effect they have on the cells that line your blood vessels.
They are rich in omega 3 essential fats, manganese, copper, and B vitamins which are all vital for the efficient function of the detox system.
Walnut oil was just as effective as the nuts and it makes a change from olive oil as a dressing for your detox salads or vegetables.
These nuts are particularly high in selenium an important mineral that is often lacking in produce because of poor soil quality. Selenium is essential for the body’s own antioxidant system that helps protect your cells against pollutants. Just two or three nuts a day can provide us with the daily recommended amount of selenium.
Surprisingly, scientists have warned that eating large quantities of Brazil nuts can increase harmful cholesterol by 10% and increase the risk of heart disease.
Professor Christine Thomson, Department of Human Nutrition University of Otago, says, “People should be careful to limit themselves to no more than a few Brazil nuts per day, otherwise selenium could potentially accumulate to toxic levels in body tissues. Also, as the nuts can contain relatively high amounts of the elements barium and thorium, people should avoid eating too many as it is still unclear what intake of these elements might be harmful.”
Although we think of them as nuts pistachios are actually the seeds of a fruit. Almost 90% of the fat found in pistachios is the healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats
They contain fewer calories and more potassium, more fiber and vitamin K per serving than other nuts.
Pistachios contain phytochemicals. B vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants such as carotenes, vitamin E and selenium, all of which help support detoxification.
The form of Vitamin E they contain is gamma-tocopherol that according to recent research could reduce the risk of cancer.
Using nuts as detox foods.
Nuts make great snacks to have between meals. Eat a handful of nuts and seeds when you are feeling peckish but don’t forget to chew them well as they can be hard to digest.
There is a lot of debate about whether or not nuts, and seeds for that matter, should be soaked and rinsed before eating them. Nuts and seeds contain phytic acid that binds up minerals in the gut and prevents them being absorbed, and an enzyme inhibitor that blocks trypsin, a protein digesting enzyme.
Although there do not seem to be any published studies on it soaking the nuts or seeds is supposed to help inactivate both.
Soaking also starts the germination process which is a good thing as it increases the availability of nutrients.
If you find nuts difficult to digest then try soaking almonds overnight for up to 12 hours and walnuts for 4 hours before eating them.
Some say that you do not need to soak Brazil nuts but others say soak for 3 hours. I have even seen instructions to soak them for 12 – 24 hours. Don’t soak pistachios as it makes them too soft.
You can add nuts to salads or vegetable dishes for added protein and texture. Blend nuts with fresh herbs and a good olive oil to make a dairy free pesto. If you have a good food processor or Vitamix you can use nuts to make you own nut butter.
Nuts can make excellent detox food if used with discretion.
Here’s a recipe for a good nutty detox breakfast.
Before you go to bed put 2 handfuls of raw oats and 1 tbsp raisins in a bowl. Cover with fresh orange, pineapple or apple juice and leave overnight in fridge. Put 6 almonds or walnuts in another bowl and cover with pure water and leave in a cool place or fridge.
In the morning rinse the nuts well and add to the oats and raisins. Top with slices of apple or pear and finish with 1 tbsp mixed ground seeds. Enjoy!
Did you think that nuts were a good detox food?